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The Next Step for Smart Homes

The next step for homes smart: devices making contextualized decisions with superior personalization.

According to EE Times, while every device could pack a unique sensor array, some mediums stand out more than others. Imaging alone can provide vast amounts of information, and we should take the opportunity to equip smart systems with new means of perceiving the home. Acoustic sensors, gas sensing, and 3D mapping would provide the information needed to take smart environments to the next level.

Combining these inputs, our devices would be able to better understand and implement individual preferences, sensing who enters and exits a room while changing the light, sounds, temperature, and safety features to that person’s profile. It’s not just about comprehending the ambient environment but changing it for the better, with or without direct input.

Obviously, that extends beyond creature comforts. Security is one self–evident example given the introduction of motion sensing, 3D mapping and individual recognition, making our homes safer than ever before. There’s also potential to save energy, with presence, daylight, and temperature sensors able to dim lights or modulate air conditioning on hot summer days.

Sensing challenges

What is holding us back from taking this next logical step in the smart home evolution? Its implementation certainly raises technical and ethical questions.

The first issue is consumer privacy. While homeowners have started to become accustomed to smart speakers in their homes, there are already endless examples of data–hungry organizations observing our everyday interactions with those devices. In recent times, Amazon’s Astro robot has been accused of full-scale data harvesting, while Facebook’s smart glasses have been criticized by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commission.

Smarter and more ambient technology in the future will only force consumers to give over even more data than they are currently doing so. Just how much will consumers be willing to offer? How do brands convince customers that their privacy is of the utmost priority?

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